Yard Athlete Development Spotlight: Scott Atkinson

by Yard Athletics – Oct 2nd, 2020

Yard Athletics is extremely fortunate to be able to offer such a wide range of training sessions each week. In addition to our 1:1 and 2:1 personal training, we have our Bone Yard, Junk Yard and Yard Sale Group Classes, which each offer a unique approach to strength and conditioning.

We’re also very proud of our Yard Athlete Development Program, which helps athletes train for their respective sports during the offseason, or even during the season.

For the last few summers we’ve been lucky to have a great group of hockey players come through the doors, and this year was no exception. We wanted to highlight a few of these amazing athletes, getting to know their story a bit better and see where they are in their careers.

First up is Scott Atkinson, a Vancouver native who plays his hockey in the WHL with the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Scott has been coming to Yard since he was 15 (when it was still “Factory Hockey”) and has been making incredible progress since that time.

We put together a few questions for Scott to see how he got his start in hockey, how Yard training has impacted his game, and what’s up for the future.

Where did you grow up playing hockey? 

I grew up playing hockey in Vancouver with my brother at around 3 or 4 years old. We started off playing road hockey against my dad, who would throw on the goalie pads and I would try and take slappers as hard as I could at him. Then we started skating when I was about 5 and my brother was 7 and we would battle on the ice and that competitiveness always stuck with me once I started playing organized hockey.

When did you realize you wanted to pursue hockey seriously?

I always took hockey seriously but didn’t start solely pursuing hockey until the year I got drafted to the Oil Kings in 2015 when I was just turning 15. That’s when I stopped playing basketball and other sports with my high school team and started devoting myself to one sport competitively. At that point it was high level hockey but I was still only 15 years old. When I left to Edmonton in the following year that’s when I started to realize how much time and effort it was going to take to play at that level.

How did you first start training with Yard Athletics? 
I started training with yard, which was called Factory Hockey back then, the summer right after I got drafted when I was 15. I started doing a junior group with Ian Walker and Radek Hewson and we trained at the old gym at Groundwork athletics. Shawzo and Cumby would take turns training our group and Woody (Brandon Underwood, legend), would take our group sometimes too. Back then we would have our junior skates out at Britannia ice centre and Woody or Cumby would usually put us through the paces. Shawzo would usually fill the water bottles and tie skates. Then a couple years after we were able to join the pro group with some great NHL, AHL and European pro players and that was very cool to experience.

Myself, Radek and Ian in our factory shirts in 2016

What sort of impact has training with Yard had on your growth as a player?

Yard and Factory was the first consistent training I ever did for hockey. My first season after a summer of training with factory I had the best year statistically of my hockey career with the Greater Vancouver Canadians, and after that it was all downhill. In all seriousness, when I joined the Oil Kings when I was 17 after (3 summers of training with factory) I was able to be successful mainly because of my strength and conditioning. The game was so much faster and guys were so much stronger that I had to adapt and change my game to be able to be successful in the league, and the training with factory had allowed me to make that transition.

The heaviest squat or deadlift doesn’t mean you’re the best on the ice. How does Yard’s training balance strength with power, agility and fitness?

The schedule at Yard and Factory has always been the same, 4 lifts and a field day in the middle of the week. The field days used to be at Andy Livingstone, but this year we trained at the Kitsilano turf. These days were great, and helped us work on more agility and conditioning. Those sessions were probably my favorite, getting up early and biking to the field to watch Blake rip around in his weighted suit.

Who’s got the best chirps on the ice?

Jesse is usually the one throwing most of the chirps around which are usually directed at Mr. Banquet Liam. He will always have something funny to say and be right there in your face when you mess something up or eat shit on a box jump.

What’s next for you in hockey?

Next year is my 20 year old year with Oil Kings and my final year of junior hockey. With the uncertainty of when the season will start, I’m not sure what lies ahead in my hockey career. I would love to continue playing hockey wherever it might be. I’m currently studying courses at UBC and would explore options there in the future.

HUGE thank you to Yard athletics crew for the past 6 years and to Henry Gould for the opportunity to do this!

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